Native Americans and the Colonists

Choose one of the following topics for your paper, which must be typed double-spaced, on only the front side of the page, with standard fonts and margins. The paper must be 1000 words (a minimum of 900, maximum 1100). Develop a maximum of three points of analysis. You are not to use any secondary sources: however, you must cite from the text that you analyze, indicating quotations by line numbers. Citations should account for no more than 10% of your paper. You must have a separate title page with title, name, student number, course/section designation, and my name all on the top half of the page. All topics have multiple questions, though you need not address all of them; moreover, do not necessarily answer these questions sequentially. Instead, develop a clearly defined thesis from your thinking about the topic. Also, remember the various points listed on the handout for the first paper.

1) Among the primary themes of Beowulf is the contest between forces of good and evil. Beowulf fights three monsters: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. You are to address only the question of evil—not Beowulf himself—in the paper. How do any two or all three monsters reflect the representation of evil in the epic? What does the portrayal of such creatures suggest about early Germanic and Anglo-Saxon perceptions of the nature of evil in both religious and cultural terms?

2) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the most celebrated medieval romance in English literature. What does the color green in both the figure of the Green Knight himself and the green sash symbolize in reference to Gawain? Does King Arthur’s court adopt the green sash as an emblem because they truly understand its significance or precisely because they fail to appreciate its meaning? Does the Sir Gawain poet appear to idealize the concept of knightly chivalry or satirize medieval romance as a genre?

3) Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale is the most famous example of the genre of fabliau in English literature. Discuss the “sexual politics” of The Miller’s Tale. What does the genre of fabliau suggest about the choices available to men and women in late fourteenth century England based on class and gender? In this regard, what does the Tale, including the various punishments or lack thereof, reveal about concerns involving marriage, class relations and gender roles in medieval England?

4) Some readers perceive of the Wife of Bath as a proto-feminist who rightly argues against the subordinate status of women in Chaucer’s time. Others, however, see the Wife as ironically supporting the misogynistic prejudice against women in medieval England. Do you find The Wife of Bath’sPrologue and Tale to be consistent with one another in terms of the Wife’s philosophy regarding gender roles? Does the Wife believe in a true equality of the sexes or not? Is the Wife of Bath a character who rebels against the inferior status of women in medieval England, or is her portrayal a satire that reinforces the very antifeminist stereotypes she argues against?

5) Analyze the young wife in The Miller’s Tale and the Wife of Bath. Do you find any similarities in the actions and attitudes of the two women? Are the women, despite sharing the same name, different in any significant respects? Do The Miller’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale (including the Prologue) appear to be in fundamental agreement regarding the proper roles of men and women, or are there some crucial distinctions?

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